Friday, January 9, 2009
What do D1's do?
I thought I would dedicate this post to illustrate what goes on in a typical day as a first year dental student (D1) at Midwestern. I win the award at school as being the student that lives the farthest away from the campus. I live exactly 50.1 miles away in the town of Gilbert, which actually ends up being a little longer because I ride in a carpool with another D1 and a first year med student who live in Mesa. The little detour I take to get to the rendezvous adds about an extra 5 or so miles to my total trip. "Why do you live so far away?"-you are probably thinking. I have lived here for a few years and purchased a house and with the housing market taking a dump, I am upside down on my mortgage and am kind of stuck for right now. Anyways.....
I leave my house around 6:10am and end up on campus around 7:35. Class usually begins at 8am. The twenty five minutes before class allows me to get a breakfast burrito or some sort of greasy breakfast food stuffs from our friendly staff in the cafeteria and play a quick game or two of ping pong.
Although we have many graduate level health profession programs at MWU (Osteopathic medicine, Podiatry, Pharm, PA, etc), we take all of our classes with only the dental class. The same basic science faculty work hard to educate all of us. Since all 111 of us are together all day long in one big room, we have become good buds after just a few months. So... We usually have a couple basic science lectures (50mins a piece) mixed with a dental lecture on prevention or ethics or human behavior followed by lunch. After lunch we usually have a few more science lectures and finish by around 4pm.
I really like the way our basic science curriculum is laid out. It is different from the traditional style like we all had in our undergrad courses. For example, at ASU I would have something like Biochem, Genetics, Micro etc in a semester. Here at MWU we only take one class at a time, one grade. For example right now, our only basic science class is "DENT 1504". Our sciences are all integrated but central to a particular biological system or theme. Right now we are studying lymphatics. So we have our professors from the Anatomy department come in and lecture on the anatomy of lymphoid tissues for an hour, then we might have a professor from the pathology department come in and lecture on pathology of the lymphatic system, then the next hour have some biochemistry of some processes that go on in the lymphatic system etc. It is nice because for each system there is some overlap so we are reviewing old material every time while applying it and building it on a new system. I hope that all made sense. It is great for retention. So we do this for a whole week and are tested on a week's worth of material every Monday. It's Friday night and on Monday we will take a scantron style multiple choice test covering 15 science lectures which is fairly average.
Sometimes four straight hours of pathology feels like five thousand hours. You need to dig down and get comfortable.
Ya, sometimes you have to take extreme measures. Here we have a student who was so overwhelmed with joy after going through 364 power point slides on circulatory system related pathologies she had to take a break. To her credit she is still following along.
The first year of school here is pretty heavy with sciences as I am sure all dental schools are. After our exams on Monday morning, we get to spend the rest of the day up in our simulation clinic and work on clinical things. Sim clinic is great because it is our chance to de-stress from the exam and turn on our laptops, open up our iTunes, and mingle with adjunct and full time dental faculty in an informal and relaxed atmosphere while working on various projects. I am planning on making a post about our current project, which will take some time to complete. We have taken impressions of our typodonts (fake set of maxillary and mandibular arches mounted on an articulatorr), poured up the casts from our impressions and then mounted the casts on our whip-mix articulators. We ground down four teeth on our mandibular left side starting with the first premolar to the second molar. We are building the crowns back up with wax in a very organized and step-wise manner so we learn fundamentals of canine guidance, cuspid rise and group function as well as occlusal relationships between the arches while in centric, lateral and protrusive excursion. It is really a lot of fun to throw wax around for several hours every Monday and learn the dynamics and the science of dentistry pertaining to occlusion. Sim Lab time is where we are reminded every week that we are actually in dental school, not just an amped up and high pressure version of undergrad intense science course nightmare. I'll make a post on this project after I complete it so I can show all the steps in one post.
That's it for now.